What Is the Surface of Planet Venus Like and Why Is Venus So Hot and Dry?

The first few things you would notice if you could stand on Venus would probably be the heat, the relatively constant calm weather, and the orange-colored rocks and dry dirt at your feet.

In general, it might feel like you were in one of the Great Plains states in the middle of a billion-year-long drought.

If you looked around, you might see mountains, lava volcanoes, a few craters, and highlands in the distance, but your general impression would probably be that the landscape was pretty flat.

There are only 9 miles (15 km) between the lowest and highest points of the planet’s surface.

Billion years ago the atmosphere on Venus was much more like Earth’s than it is now, and that there were probably significant quantities of liquid water on the surface.

Astronomers speculate that a runaway greenhouse effect was caused by the evaporation of that original water, which generated high levels of greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.